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Re-coating Wheels

marpel
Explorer
Explorer
Trailer wheels (al alloy) are starting to look a little rough. It appears the clear coat is deteriorating. For my own curiosity, I did some quick online research on steel as opposed to aluminum replacements as well as re-coating the aluminum clear coat.

Obviously, the differences between replacing and re-coating are mainly cost and process/labour. Easier to just buy new rims (higher cost) but I am considering re-coating (less cost, don't like the idea of tossing a still-working product for the sake of a new prettier one, but more labour/technique). The marketers of a (re)coating product downplay the process involved and don't really address some of the issues.

So, my questions - Does anyone have any experience with re-coating al alloy rims (or any al products for that matter)? Does the process require doing the entire rim (ie can you just do the visible surfaces)? And how does the re-coated surface bear up compared to factory application? At the very least, it seems the process is rather labour intensive and it is recommended the old coating is sanded off, but is the final product worth it? And are there reasonably cheap commercial places that provide this service (although I suspect the total cost of that may be close to just buying 4 new wheels)?

As the trailer will not be used until next year, and I have the al wheels and good tires removed (sitting on a set of older tires and steel wheels for the winter), the al alloy rims are available for me to work on through the winter months.

Any input appreciated.

Marv
7 REPLIES 7

CharlesinGA
Explorer
Explorer
In the Atlanta area, Alloy Wheel Repair gets $125 to strip, straighten and refinish alloy wheels. Last time I had my cars wheels done it was $100 each, but recently checked and its up to $125 now. That includes dismounting tires and remounting and balancing. When I had them done, I was getting new tires and had the tire shop dismount and discard the tires and then mount new ones when the wheels were returned.

In 2020 I considered having the trailer wheels refinished as they turned milky but I paid only a little more and got brand new, better looking, Sendel wheels. As with everything, the price has gone up considerably since then. Old wheels were the 20 hole "modular" wheel. I paid $120 for the Sendel wheels so they were a bargain, those are about $160 now, but still not bad compared to $125 or more for a refinish.

Charles

'03 Ram 2500 CTD, 5.9HO six speed, PacBrake Exh Brake, std cab, long bed, Leer top and 2008 Bigfoot 25B21RB.. previously (both gone) 2008 Thor/Dutchman Freedom Spirit 180 & 2007 Winnebago View 23H Motorhome.

marpel
Explorer
Explorer
Thanks to everyone for the replies.

Funny, I thought the aluminum alloy wheels (that look like aluminum, not coloured) were just clear-coated and not powder coated. Thought powder-coating was an actual color.

And as I reside in the Pacific Southwest, of Canada, I am adjacent to the PNW, and although we do not, to my knowledge, have LesSchwab in Canada, for $35 each it might be worth a trip across the line. I will be looking into this.

ScottG
Traveler
Traveler
In the Pacific Northwest, we have LesSchwab tire stores that will powder coat wheels for around $35. For that they will sand blast and coat them in a choice of colors. I've done it to rusty junk yard wheels and they look brand new afterward.
If you're not in the area, you might check with some bigger tire shops to see if they offer this service.

stripit
Explorer
Explorer
I used to have a shop that removed powdercoating, and your wheel clear is clear powdercoating. As noted above it is not a easy procedure to remove, prep and recoat a used wheel. When new, a much simpler process. Overall, for looks it would be less expensive to purchase a new set and start over. Might want to hunt for some take offs from a rv dealer where someone want a different wheel and removed the ones that came with the trailer. When I had a 5th wheel I upgraded from 16 inch to 17.5 inch wheels and tires. Sold my almost new set to a fellow wanting to improve his set up.
Stacey Frank
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ktmrfs
Explorer
Explorer
give a call to a local place that advertizes fixing wheel scrapes etc. on alloy wheels. They likely can do it.
2011 Keystone Outback 295RE
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QCMan
Traveler II
Traveler II
A body shop can strip and recoat the entire wheel with automotive paint. As noted above, they will need the tires dismounted. Had four aluminum rims for our Rav4 redone about two years ago. It was about $150 per rim. No exposed aluminum like most trailer wheels. Looked nicer with matching rims!
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The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. A.E.
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eHoefler
Explorer
Explorer
They are powder coated from the factory. To re-coat them, they would need to be stripped, polished and outgassed to ready to re-coat. You can not coat just one side, tires will need to be dismounted, wheels will go in a oven to be baked at 400* until the powder coat melts and adheres to the wheel.

I strip and coat parts every day. I do aluminum wheels for $300 a piece. I don't polish them, that would be an additional cost.
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